Texas A&M University biology graduate Mary-Catherine C. Clark ’20 of Temple has been recognized with the 2020 Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award, one of Texas A&M’s top senior awards annually presented during commencement ceremonies.
The prestigious award, established in 2007 through a gift from the Muller family of Galveston, recognizes an outstanding graduating senior who demonstrates the same qualities of leadership, patriotism, courage and service to country, school and nation clearly exemplified by Robert M. Gates, who served as the 22nd president of Texas A&M (2002-2006) and the 22nd US Secretary of Defense. The award includes a cash gift of $5,000.
“Mary-Cate’s blend of intellect, work ethic and compassion for others makes her an ideal ambassador for Texas A&M,” said Wayne K. Versaw, professor and associate head for academics in the Department of Biology.
Chemical engineering major Paige Rigsby ’20 of Houston and business honors and finance double major Uzair Waheed ’20 of College Station received the Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award, which honors the top two students university-wide who exemplify the leadership and related traits of the late Gen. Earl Rudder, a World War II hero who served as president of Texas A&M from 1959 until his death in 1970. The award includes a cash gift of $5,000.
A fourth senior, biomedical sciences major Lauren Breazeale ’20 of McKinney, also received the inaugural Class of ’80 E. King Gill Selfless Service Award, which memorializes the Aggie core value of selfless service by recognizing an outstanding senior who exemplifies both the quality and the readiness to serve at a moment’s notice. The award includes a cash gift of $4,000.
“The Outstanding Student Awards are the pinnacle award for graduating seniors at Texas A&M,” said Sumana Datta, assistant provost, executive director of LAUNCH and professor of biochemistry and biophysics.
“Based on more than academics, the Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student and the Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student awards recognize not just academic accomplishment, but just as importantly a depth of character demonstrated both publicly and privately,” Datta said. “The Class of ’80 Selfless Service Award, given for the first time this year, recognizes one of Texas A&M’s core values and one for which our university and our students and former students are known for far and wide.”
Clark graduated in May with a bachelor of science in molecular and cell biology, a minor in Spanish and summa cum laude honors along with both University and College of Science honors. An Aggie Research Scholar and a sophomore advisor in the University Honors Program, she has participated since spring 2017 in undergraduate research in the Texas A&M Health Science Center that resulted in authorship on a peer-reviewed publication, a conference abstract and three presentations at biomedical symposia.
Previously this year, Clark was recognized with the 2020 John B. Beckham Award in Science honoring the top two seniors in the College of Science. As an undergraduate, she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Societies, the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society and the Aggie Graduate & Professional Community Club Membership Program. In addition to founding the Texas Bioscience Institute Tutoring Outreach Program for middle school children, she served as a senior member of the McLane Children’s Hospital Teen Advisory Board, a senior leadership team member for the St. Mary’s Youth Retreat Program and viola section leader for the Texas A&M Philharmonic Orchestra.
In between her studies and organizational activities, Clark logged 400-plus hours of community service, primarily with programs that help hospitalized children or those whose parents have cancer, including McClane Children’s Medical Center, Camp Kesem, the BCS Prenatal Clinic and the CHI St. Joseph’s Hospital Oncology Department. She was accepted earlier this year to the University of Texas Health Science Center – McGovern Medical School, where she has continued her commitment to learning and helping others.
Learn more about the Gates-Muller Award and other student recognition efforts supported through LAUNCH.